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Welcome to the Dagobert et Cie website
France Léger
France Léger

Dagobert et Cie is an organization financially supported by the Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Estrie-CHUS.

We represent and provide services for people living with DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder) also known as dyspraxia.


Developmental coordination disorder (DCD), or dyspraxia, is a neurodevelopmental disorder, i.e., related to brain development, that:

  • Affects the planning and coordination of movements required to perform a new action.
  • Leads to difficulties in the elaboration and automation of voluntary gestures (impairment of praxis).
  • It affects all areas of the child’s life: at home, at school, at play and with friends.
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Dagobert et Cie
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DCD/dyspraxia is not a disease but rather a lifelong disorder, meaning that it will remain present throughout the person’s life.

DCD/dyspraxia is often referred to as a “how-to” disorder because children/people with DCD/dyspraxia learn to perform motor tasks with a great deal of repetition and this learning does not spontaneously generalize to other situations. The person must therefore learn each variation of an activity as if it were a new one.

Physically, DCD/dyspraxia is manifested by clumsiness in motor and sports activities and incoordination and lack of skill in fine motor activities.

At the socio-affective level, dyspraxia leads to insecurity in the face of novelty and a low tolerance for frustration.

There is also an awkwardness in social relationships that can compromise integration in various environments.  

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Evolution of terminology
over time

It is important to know that the name of this disorder has changed over time.

Motor dyspraxia

This term appeared in the 1960s and is still used mainly in certain European countries.

Developmental Coordination Disorder
or DCD

This term has existed since 1994 and was reaffirmed in 2006 as the name that should be preferred by all.

Acquisition Coordination Disorder
or ACT

This term was adopted as a French translation in 1994 in the DSM-IV (International Diagnostic Manual).

Developmental Coordination Disorder
or DCD

In 2015, the international community, with the release of the DSM-5, recommended standardizing the name in all languages. The term developmental coordination disorder or DCD therefore replaces ACT and should be used instead of the term dyspraxia.

The diagnostic process

The criteria for a diagnosis of DCD (DSM-5) are as follows:


The child must have a significant delay in motor development, despite the experimentation and learning opportunities to which he or she has been exposed.

The child/individual with DCD will show slowness of execution, imprecision of motor gestures, greater effort to perform complex actions and, consequently, the presence of cognitive overload due to the lack of automation.


Motor difficulties interfere significantly and persistently with the development of independence in activities of daily living and affect all areas of the child's life (at home, at school, in leisure and play, and in social relationships).


The difficulties appear gradually and early in the child's development.

However, although difficulties appear early in a child's development, the diagnosis is not usually made until the age of 5. It is advisable to wait until the child is exposed to fairly high expectations in terms of gesture complexity before certifying that he or she has a disorder in this area. The start of school is often a decisive stage for highlighting the child's difficulties.


The deficit in motor skills cannot be better explained by another cause (intellectual disability or visual impairment) and is not due to a neurological condition affecting movement (such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or degenerative disease).

DCD is therefore a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that all other possible explanations for the child's motor difficulties must first be ruled out.

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The process leading to DCD is complex and should be carried out by several professionals. The occupational therapist is the professional best placed to document criteria A. and B., but it is the physician (pediatrician or neuropediatrician) or neuropsychologist who can answer criteria C. and D. and who can confirm the diagnosis.

Causes and prevalence

Currently, no precise cause has been identified to explain DCD/dyspraxia but there are certain hypotheses or risk factors: prematurity or a history of difficult birth with lack of oxygen, low birth weight, an anomaly in the development of the brain at the time of the formation of neuromotor circuits. In addition, genetic/familial incidences are also observed and pointed out since it is not rare to see more than one child in a sibling or even a parent who is affected.

It is estimated that DCD/dyspraxia affects 5-6% of children, the majority of whom are boys (2-4 boys to 1 girl).

Causes and prevalence

Currently, no precise cause has been identified to explain DCD/dyspraxia but there are certain hypotheses or risk factors: prematurity or a history of difficult birth with lack of oxygen, low birth weight, an anomaly in the development of the brain at the time of the formation of neuromotor circuits. In addition, genetic/familial incidences are also observed and pointed out since it is not rare to see more than one child in a sibling or even a parent who is affected.

It is estimated that DCD/dyspraxia affects 5-6% of children, the majority of whom are boys (2-4 boys to 1 girl).

Other conditions often associated with DCD/dyspraxia
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The most common disorder associated with DCD is the Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Thus, children with DCD/dyspraxia who also have the characteristics of ADD/ADHD may benefit from treatment for it. However, it is important to understand that medication does not treat ADD/ADHD, only difficulties with attention and concentration. Great care must also be taken when combining ADD/ADHD with DCD. Certain characteristics such as weak muscle tone or proprioception present in DCD/dyspraxia may give the impression that ADD/ADHD is associated because the child will often change position and will not be able to remain seated in his or her chair due to physical discomfort. In addition, the child with DCD/dyspraxia may appear inattentive, without actually being so, because of difficulties in information processing, visual perception and speed of execution. We must therefore be cautious about making a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD too quickly, since some children with DCD/dyspraxia, if they do not have a real attention deficit, will not be helped by medication.

Sound and Speech Disorder, formerly known as Verbal Dyspraxia, is a member of the large family of language disorders. It shares commonalities with DCD/motor dyspraxia in that the difficulty is related to poor planning of motor movements that affect language (this is referred to as verbal/orofacial/buccofacial dyspraxia).

Sound and Speech Disorder is an expressive language disorder characterized by the inability to adequately plan and organize mouth movements to produce sounds, words or certain actions such as blowing, drinking through a straw, sticking out the tongue, etc. This disorder leads to a marked limitation in the number of words produced, in pronunciation, in verbal fluency and, consequently, in speech intelligibility. Comprehension is not greatly affected. A child with a sound and speech disorder (verbal dyspraxia) will therefore have difficulty being understood by those around him, even though he will understand what is said to him and will know perfectly well what he means.

Children with this disorder are more likely to also have motor difficulties in the form of DCD/dyspraxia.
This language disorder should not be confused with developmental language disorder (dysphasia), in which both expressive and receptive language may be affected.

It is usually around the age of 3 that a referral to speech therapy is made when the parent suspects a language difficulty. After the diagnosis, the child can benefit from rehabilitation that will aim to make the movements that allow the production of sounds automatic.

Many children with DCD experience learning difficulties at some point in their school career. The difficulties may be in a variety of subjects and may vary in intensity depending on the child and his/her grade level.
In kindergarten, the child may not be good at colouring and cutting and may have difficulty fitting together pieces of building sets or puzzles. They tend to repeat the same games and watch their peers rather than play with them.

In primary school, learning to write is particularly difficult; the child picks up his pencil awkwardly and inefficiently, has great difficulty forming his letters and is slower than his peers. As the years go by, learning mathematics also becomes more and more laborious, and subjects such as physical education, music and art, far from being pleasurable, are instead sources of failure and frustration that contribute to lowering self-esteem.

In high school, if the academic difficulties experienced in elementary school tend to continue, it is the new organizational requirements that represent the greatest challenge for the young person with a DCD/dyspraxia. Indeed, the transition to high school brings about many changes, both academically and socially, as well as in terms of autonomy. In order to make this transition successfully, the young person will need support and compensatory means that will help him/her to succeed.

On the other hand, if the child has significant and persistent difficulties in one or other of the school learning processes, a specific diagnosis may be made. This is called dyslexia/dysorthographia for a disorder in the identification and production of words in writing that affects reading and writing, or dyscalculia for a disorder in mathematical activities.

Since 2015, the diagnosis of ASD is no longer an exclusion criterion for DCD and it is therefore possible for a child to present both disorders concurrently. Thus, in addition to having deficits in planning and motor coordination, the child will need to demonstrate difficulties in social relationships and variety of interests to receive both diagnoses.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that children/persons living with DCD/dyspraxia are more likely to have mental health problems, including anxiety symptoms, depressive symptoms, social difficulties and behavioural problems. Indeed, DCD/dyspraxia causes children to experience emotional difficulties related to their poor motor skills, such as: a low sense of competence, a decrease in their ability to meet everyday expectations, and a decrease in their social participation. All of this contributes to lower overall self-esteem.
Three elements inherent to DCD/dyspraxia, can explain the difficulties on an emotional or psychological level:

  • The invisible nature of the disability: this is a source of ambiguity for the child, which can be amplified by the misunderstandings experienced by the family and those around them.

  • Misattributions: On the one hand, the child knows that something is wrong without being able to explain it. On the other hand, family, friends, teachers, coaches may attribute the child’s limitations to other causes. The child may come to believe that he is not good, that he is not smart. Children with DCD/dyspraxia are often mislabeled as “lazy”, “not very diligent”, “not very motivated”, “not very active”. These misattributions can lead to the development of anxiety symptoms and, more importantly, have a strong negative impact on self-esteem as the child comes to see only his or her limitations and difficulties.
  • Repeated failure: this is called performance anxiety or “anxiety about future failure”. This state is likely to further decrease the child’s performance and motivation to participate in various activities. As a result, the child may gradually develop a fear of engaging in such activities as a result of being confronted with difficulties. In all cases, avoidance of motor activities or social situations and exclusion may result.

The term visuospatial dyspraxia is often confusing and is not officially recognized in the DSM-5. Nevertheless, many children with DCD/dyspraxia may also have symptoms of visuospatial dyspraxia. This is based on two main elements:

  • Incoordination in eye movements and impairment in the organization of the gaze: difficulty in staring, in following an object with the eyes, in making an effective visual scan, in visually exploring the environment and in locating a particular element. This difficulty may be present with or without a vision disorder.

  • Poor spatial organization: difficulty locating oneself in space, locating an object in relation to oneself and understanding the position of objects in relation to each other.

As one might expect, visuospatial dyspraxia has many repercussions in the child’s life. In addition to those already described in the general picture of DCD/dyspraxia, some difficulties will be added, for example:

  • At home, the child may put on his clothes or shoes backwards or look for his toys in his environment often.

  • At school, difficulties may be present in reading (decoding, sense of reading, locating information in a text, confusion of letters, slowness and visual fatigue), in writing (sense of letters, copying from the board, respecting the spacing between words), in mathematics (alignment of numbers in operations, geometry), in his organization (classifying his personal belongings, finding his way around the school)

Here are the questions to ask when making an optometry appointment (according to Jean Pierre Lagacé optometrist):

Beyond the conventional visual examination (visual acuity test, estimation of hyperopia, myopia or astigmatism, eye health):

  • Do you do eye alignment and focus tests, especially for near vision?
  • Do you do visual-motor tests (eye movements, reading speed test, etc.)?
  • Do you test visual perception (visual memory, hand-eye coordination, visualization, visual discrimination, etc.)?
  • Do you do spatial location/orientation tests?
  • Do you offer structured vision rehabilitation treatment for all these problems (e.g. monthly visits lasting 6-12 months depending on the problems encountered) and not just one or two activities with follow-up in 6 months?
History of the association

Discover the story of Dagobert et Cie

The Quebec Association for Dyspraxic Children (AQED)

Created in 2004, the Association Québécoise pour les enfants Dyspraxiques (AQED) was first formed by a group of parents. In 2003, with the help of a community organizer from the Sherbrooke CLSC, the parents explored the possibility of joining another community organization, namely the Association Québécoise pour les enfants dysphasiques (AQEA).

The parent group quickly realized that the physical and functional disabilities caused by dyspraxia were different from those seen in children with dysphasia. It became clear that dyspraxic children had specific rehabilitation and support needs.

These differences led to the foundation of an association whose services would be specifically oriented to the dyspraxic clientele while better responding to the parents' concerns.

The Quebec Association for Dyspraxic Children

In July 2004, the Association Québécoise pour les enfants dyspraxiques was created and obtained its letters patent from the Registraire des entreprises

Later, the association is recognized as a charitable organization by the Canada Revenue Agency. The AQED is recognized by the Agence de santé et des services sociaux de l'Estrie (ASSS) as a non-subsidized community organization.


In 2016, the association changed its name to TDC-Québec to reflect the change in medical terminology related to this disorder. This change in the name of the association will be an opportunity to include, gather and represent adults living with this disorder.

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Finally, a new change in the name of the association was made when a grant was offered to us by the CIUSSS de l'Estrie-CHUS through the PSOC (Programme de Soutien aux Organismes Communautaires). We must then offer our immediate and physical services to the clientele of the Eastern Townships. In a desire to have a meaningful and timeless name, Dagobert (the king known for putting his pants on backwards) appealed to us. It is therefore Dagobert and his supportive and helpful company that stands out. Dagobert et Cie becomes our new representation.

Our Mission


To provide support to people living with developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and their caregivers.


integration of people living with DCD ;


stakeholders and partners to the needs of people living with DCD;

Raising awareness

the general population to the realities of people living with DCD;


the importance of screening and referral to recognized services;


and facilitate social, sports, educational and cultural activities adapted for people living with DCD;

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for the purposes mentioned above, funds or other property by public subscription;

You want to support our association?
How can I help?

Because of the nature of the deficits present in DCD/dyspraxia, in Quebec, the occupational therapist plays a prominent role in rehabilitation services. In concrete terms, the occupational therapist may :

Assess the child's sensory, motor, perceptual and organizational development.
To promote the child's autonomy and ability to meet the demands of his or her age in his or her various living environments.
To rehabilitate sensory, motor, perceptual or cognitive functions.
Improve performance in school activities.
Assess the environment and the need for compensatory adaptations or assistance.
Help the child and his or her family to understand the problem and its consequences in daily life.

Other professionals may also be involved at one time or another in the development of children with DCD/dyspraxia, including the remedial teacher, the psychologist/neuropsychologist, the physiotherapist and the special educator.

If the child also has language difficulties, services will be provided by the speech therapist.

The Daily

Dressing, self-care, eating, tidying up, moving around and social interaction are all affected, at different levels, by DCD/dyspraxia. All of these moments are both a challenge and a learning opportunity for your child. It is a matter of balancing what is required of the child with the amount of help that will be provided.

At school

As we have seen previously, DCD/dyspraxia often leads to difficulties or even failure at school. Several accommodations can be made to help children with DCD/dyspraxia: giving more time, aiming for quality rather than quantity, allowing answers to be given orally, using the computer and certain computer programs as a means of compensating for handwriting, placing concrete markers and adapting materials, encouraging the use of an adapted agenda, and providing methods of organization in time and space. A school intervention plan will be used to record all adaptations made to help the child. If the child also has language difficulties, services will be provided by the speech therapist.

The key to success

At home as well as at school, to help the child, we must work on three levels:

Use of learning aids (rehabilitation/rehabilitation)
Use palliative means
(adapt to compensate, do otherwise)
Use workarounds
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The balance and success lie in the perfect dosage of these three plans. One must know how to stop rehabilitation when the gap with normality widens and one must then go towards compensatory and circumvention means.

For example, one can choose to stop handwriting when a functional minimum is reached and switch to the computer for writing (compensation) and/or to the voice support (avoidance).

Adolescents and adults living with DCD/dyspraxia
L’adolescent et l’adulte vivant avec le TDC/dyspraxie

DCD/dyspraxia is a lifelong condition. But with a strategic program in place and access to accommodations, most teens and adults will be able to find an active life and meet surprising challenges.

Some of the problems encountered in childhood may have faded with learning. Others remain and can make personal, social and professional life more difficult. Dr. Michelle Mazeau, a specialist in dyspraxia says “The prognosis of dyspraxia depends little on the intensity of the dyspraxia. The evolution of the child towards adulthood depends on different criteria. Indeed, the precocity of the diagnosis, the level of school delay at the time of the diagnosis, the isolated or not character of the dyspraxia and the quality of the management are the main factors towards a favourable or not evolution “.

Here are some suggestions to help the person over time:

L’adolescent et l’adulte vivant avec le TDC/dyspraxie

People with DCD/dyspraxia may be careless about their physical appearance. In this case, the person should be accompanied to develop adequate personal hygiene and be made aware of the importance of a well-groomed physical appearance. For clothing purchases, it is possible to have a friend or family member accompany the person. Being different does not necessarily mean that you have to look different, if not by choice.

Strategies for managing contraception should also be developed, avoiding methods that involve manual dexterity and time measurement.

When it comes to managing finances, it is suggested that easy and convenient ways be found. The use of a bank card to avoid handling money and the use of computers to access bank accounts and pay bills are winning strategies since the person with DCD/dyspraxia is quite adept with these technologies.

Exercise and healthy eating are not usually the main focus for the person living with DCD/dyspraxia. However, it is advisable to continue physical activity, despite motor difficulties, in order to maintain good cardiovascular health and avoid other problems in the long term. To do this, she may join a gym and request an individualized and personalized program. This way, she has short-term goals and is not competing with others. Meditation and yoga are disciplines that can have a great beneficial effect on the anxiety brought on by DCD/dyspraxia.

It is also necessary to develop appropriate strategies in the kitchen. Choosing certain utensils and building a recipe repertoire can make a routine much easier. A recipe can be modified by dividing it into sections (material preparation and ingredient preparation). Also, highlighting the preparation steps can be helpful. All this, so that it becomes a pleasure rather than a chore.

The choice of career will depend very much on the level of severity of the disorder and whether or not there are associated disorders. Jobs that offer a stable routine or a pressure-free work performance are to be preferred. It is important to remember that the person living with DCD/dyspraxia will always be subject to a great deal of fatigue. Adapted work schedules are often necessary for comfort and performance.

Quebec Assistance Programs for Handicapped Children
Canadian Child Disability Benefit (CDB)
Office Des Personnes Handicapées Du Québec
Guides for people with disabilities, their families and loved ones
Respite services and care
Companion Leisure Card (CAL)

(Platform designed to make life easier for parents of people with disabilities)

Acquisition Coordination Disorder Questionnaire

To be completed and presented to the doctor when there is a suspicion of DCD.

Le Cartable Fantastique (French Only)
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Developmental Dyspraxia: Identification and Intervention - A Manual for Parents and Professionals.

How to Understand and Support Children with Dyspraxia

Hands on Dyspraxia: Developmental Coordination Disorder: Supporting Young People with Motor and Sensory Challenges

The Dyspraxic Learner: Strategies for Success

100 Ideas for Supporting Pupils with Dyspraxia and DCD

Dyspraxia: The Hidden Handicap

Books to talk about DCD with children

All About Dyspraxia: Understanding Developmental Coordination Disorder

Emily's Sister: A Family's Journey With Dyspraxia and Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

My Friend Josh has Dyspraxia

You're So Clumsy Charley: Having Dyspraxia, Dyslexia, ADHD, Asperger's or Autism Does Not Make You Stupid

Du diagnostic à la réadaptation de la dyspraxie/TDC
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Mieux comprendre la dyspraxie/TDC
Play Video about Mieux comprendre la dyspraxie/TDC
Les répercussions de la dyspraxie/TDC
Play Video about Les répercussions de la dyspraxie/TDC
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